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Qld court hears Dufty had 'withered away'

AAP logoAAP 20/09/2016 Ed Jackson

A friend of Greg Dufty says the father of two physically "withered away" in the weeks leading to his disappearance and suspected murder last year.

Brothers Lionel and Nelson Patea were on Tuesday committed to stand trial for the suspected killing of Mr Dufty in July on the Gold Coast.

The Pateas are among six people who have been charged with murdering the 37-year-old, and faced Southport Magistrates Court on Tuesday in a brief committal hearing.

Reece Price, a friend of Mr Dufty's for more than a decade, told the court while he never witnessed Mr Dufty use drugs, his appearance and behaviour had changed dramatically.

"I noticed he was looking a bit skinnier and drawn," Mr Price said.

Police suspect Mr Dufty was murdered over an unpaid drug debt.

Mr Dufty's de-facto partner Sharni Miller said she had once witnessed Mr Dufty using the drug ice.

Ms Miller said she'd split with Mr Dufty after leaving their Darwin home last January and had also witnessed a change in the time leading up to his disappearance.

"He wasn't sick but he wasn't the way he used to be," Ms Miller said.

Tuesday's committal means four of the six accused are now set to stand trial.

The remaining two accused - Aaron Crawford and Ethan Clarke - have had their matters adjourned until later in the year.

Lawyer Campbell MacCallum said outside court the Pateas intended to fight their charges and would most likely seek a separate trial from their co-accused.

"Our view is the evidence against the Patea boys is particularly weak," Mr MacCallum said.

"It relies on statements given by others who are obviously in a position where they're trying to get sentences for their involvement which would be lighter than normally imposed on them."

A date for the Pateas trial at Brisbane's Supreme Court is yet to be determined.

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